Pastor’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Pastor Caroline (1/21/22) . . .

Divine Joy January 21, 2022 Do you have joy? Do you want joy? I mean, who doesn’t? I guess the real question is: Do you know how to receive joy? When the Israelites returned back home after more than 50 years of exile, they worked to rebuild the temple, rebuild their...

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From the Pastor . . .

January 1, 2021 They say we live in a post-Biblical era, that people generally do not know a reference from scripture when it is given. So, if I were speaking to a group and commented on Cain and Able, for instance, I would need to explain that reference. They say we...

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From Pastor Caroline (12/31/21)

Overwhelming Joy December 31, 2021   Those wise men journeyed from far, following the star, that they might encounter the Christ. We are told that, “When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” Seeking Jesus, following the light,...

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From Pastor Caroline (12/26/21)

December 26, 2021 Didn’t You Know Today is Boxing Day!  Traditionally, Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) was a time when Lords and aristocrats offered Christmas boxes to their servants and staff, like a Christmas bonus.  It was also a time in the church when clergy...

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From Pastor Caroline (12/24/21)

December 24, 2021 Silent Night I used to love going and visiting my grandparents. My grandaddy always had a story to tell. One filled with adventure and excitement. My grandparents were missionaries in the Belgian Congo in the 1940’s. It was interesting times! I loved...

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From Pastor Caroline (12/10/21)

What Do I Do? Do you remember your baptism?  Do you remember the words of the pastor spoken to you at the time?  I was baptized by the pastor of outreach at my church growing up, David.  David is an encourager.  He never has a harsh word for anyone.  I remember it...

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From Pastor Caroline (12/3/21)

  I was once in an informal settlement in South Africa doing a home visit with a woman with AIDS. Getting to her place was challenging.  There were no roads.  And as I walked down the dirt path, I had to be careful as it was an open sewer.  The smell in the heat...

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From the Pastor . . .

December 1, 2021 As I look around, I can see everyone preparing for the Christmas season. The homes in our neighborhood are beginning to light up the darkness. We prepare with great expectation even as the nights grow longer and the darkness surrounds us. We remember...

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From Pastor Caroline (11/26/21)

Signs of Hope Have you ever been walking down the street in the city and noticed these random sprouts that come through the sidewalk? I mean, you are walking down the streets of Atlanta, surrounded by cement and pavement and yet there will be these little green...

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From Pastor Caroline (10.29.21)

Several years ago I had my children at the pediatrician's office for the annual flu vaccination clinic. Imagine being trapped in a room with dozens of small children being stuck with needles.  The child’s image of hell.  We had finally finished and were heading out of...

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From the Pastor….

Give Thanks “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with jubilation; come before Him with rejoicing. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” We really do have so much for which to be...

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From Pastor Caroline (10.22.21)

Do you know what you want?  I don’t think it’s too hard to make a decision and get what I need.  Unless I go to Starbucks, that is.  A good trip to Starbucks is just what I need to make me feel like I have no idea what it is I really want in life.  When I go to...

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From Pastor Caroline (10.15.21)

Moments of Truth:  The Winning Team I love a good soccer game! I do love watching professional soccer, but I think my favorite thing is watching a good kids' soccer match.  You know that one I mean; the one when a kid gets that soccer ball and gets so excited and...

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From Pastor Caroline (10.08.21)

Do you have a following?  What do your Instagram and Twitter feeds look like?  I was curious as to who has the greatest following on social media platforms, so I looked it up.  On Twitter, the person with the most followers is Barak Obama with over 129 million.  On...

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From the Pastor…

Faithfully Follow As we begin this new season of ministry together, I hope you will join me in rejoicing in all that the Lord has done to bring us to this point together. Parkway Baptist Church has a legacy of faithfully following the Lord and because of that faith,...

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From Pastor Caroline (10.01.21)

In case you have any doubt, I want you to hear this morning that Jesus loves you.  How do we know that?  How do we know that Jesus loves us? Because Jesus loves his disciples.  The night before Jesus died he spent his last hours with his disciples having supper.  In...

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From Pastor Caroline (09.20.21)

Greetings to you all!  It is with great joy and excitement that we join you this week at Parkway Baptist Church. May God’s grace and peace be with us all. God has graciously led us through our endings and our time in the wilderness.  It was our faith in God that...

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From Pastor Caroline Smith (09.13.21)

“In order to be true to God and to ourselves we must break with the familiar, established and secure norms and go off into the unknown.”  --Thomas Merton Our church family, and my family, are “off into the unknown.” When I wrote last, we were saying our goodbyes and...

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Letter from Pastor Caroline Smith (09.09.21)

Greetings and blessings upon each of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Our family continues to work through the logistics of our move to Atlanta. We have been praying for you in the midst of our mutual transitions. According to William Bridges, there are three...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.13.21)

  As I close out my ministry with the Parkway family, my heart is filled with gratitude for each of you and the difference you have made in my life. I could not have asked for a more supportive, loving, and committed group of Christians with whom to engage in...

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Pastor’s Friday Comment (08.06.21)

I gave away my books this week. Okay, I didn’t give away all my books. I still have a ton at home, but, after pulling out a few that I wanted to keep, I found new homes for the books in my office. I gave young people whom I have mentored over the years the first crack...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.30.21)

I am keenly aware of the fact that I only have a few more opportunities to share my thoughts with you on a regular basis. In the past, in my Friday Comments I could promote some minor event in congregational life, knowing that there was always next week for dealing...

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From the Pastor….

If there is any good that has come out of the pandemic (and, believe me, in the face of so much death and grief, so much of it senseless and avoidable, there isn’t much), it is that, because we were forced out of the routine of our lives, we were afforded an...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.23.21)

       Last Sunday I announced my specific plans for retirement, something that all of us knew was coming by the end of this year. I had prepared a fairly lengthy statement, but after consulting with a couple of my advisors, I decided on a shorter statement for the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.16.21)

Summer has been a good time for “easing back into” the regular, in-person activities at Parkway. With so many people on vacation, social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem. The continuing of live streaming and recorded availability of the services has meant that...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.09.21)

This Sunday afternoon we will be ordaining Hannah Rule for ministry. Hannah began the practice of ministry as our Minister to Students while attending McAfee School of Theology. She is now preparing for a career as a pastoral counselor. I hope you will be able to join...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.02.21)

Being part of a small congregation obviously has its challenges. There aren’t as many resources, volunteers have to take on more responsibilities. You know what I’m talking about. However, if we weren’t also aware of the fact that there are also some distinct...

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From the Pastor….

I had the opportunity last month to worship with another congregation. It’s always great to get out of the leader mode and just experience corporate worship. Every aspect of the service was meaningful to me, but I was particularly struck by a prayer offered by a lay...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.25.21)

It was a natural tendency for all of us over the past year or so to turn inward, taking care of ourselves while trying to maintain our lives and livelihoods. You were mindful, however, that there were many people who suffered a great deal more than you did. While many...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.04.21)

A few months ago, I informed you that there were a couple of issues that I felt needed to be dealt with before our church’s transition to new pastoral leadership. While no events or circumstances had made these issues immediately critical, I felt that it was my...

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From the Pastor….

I had just gone as a wet-behind-the-ears associate minister to a church, when someone handed me a piece of paper on which he had written a story that I guess he thought I might use as a sermon illustration some day. That was forty-six years ago, and it’s still...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.28.21)

I need to squelch a rumor. Parkway Baptist Church has not been closed for the past fifteen months.  We have been out in the world where the Church of Christ is always supposed to be, bearing witness to what God has done for us and what God’s presence can do in the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.21.21)

The recent change in guidelines related to fully vaccinated people that the Centers for Disease Control announced last week was welcome news. I believe almost all of us are looking forward to some semblance of “normal,” and that includes our being able to return to...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.07.21)

This past Sunday, in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, those of us who chose took our masks off for worship. And, as I’ve said to young ministers on other occasions, if you can’t find a metaphor for preaching in that, I can’t help you. All of us...

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From the Pastor (04.30.21)

One of the classics of Christian philosophical thought is Søren Kierkegaard’s "Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing." Kierkegaard was one of the most important Christian mid-nineteenth century thinkers known as existentialists. The book is an extended sermon on...

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From the Pastor (04.23.21)

It’s time to start thinking about what church will “look like” once we are able to return to some degree of normalcy. The fact of the matter, of course, is that nobody knows. No one knows who will have become so used to “virtual worship” (I’m not crazy about that...

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From the Pastor

One of the innumerable positive traits about the Parkway family is your generosity beyond our own church. Through our relationship with several ministry partners, you have demonstrated that your concern for meeting the needs of the people around you and sharing the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.16.21)

  No one will be happier than I will when something other than the Covid pandemic and how to cope dominates our global, national, and local conversations. However, for now, how to respond to real and perceived risks and what behaviors are acceptable in these...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.09.21)

N. T. Wright is perhaps the most popular biblical scholar writing in English today. He has written a small book entitled God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath. It is only 79 pages, so it can be read in a couple of sittings...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.02.21)

The classic question to consider each year on this day is, how can a day that commemorates the death of a sinless and innocent man be called “Good Friday”? For anyone not steeped in Christian thinking or who is an adherent of almost any other religion, this would seem...

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Pastor’s Comments (03.26.21)

One of the hymns often featured during Holy Week is “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley.” It is usually notated as an African American Spiritual, but no one knows the exact origin of the words. When you read them carefully, you can understand why they express an...

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From the Pastor (04.01.21)

While the involvement of conservative churches and prominent pastors in politics has been grabbing the headlines over the past few years, the most important religion story has been the dramatic decline in church membership and participation. The other way of stating...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.19.21)

Ideological labels are handy ways of identifying a person or group’s basic position in some area, but they are always far from precise and may be as misleading as they are helpful. One example, as I’ve written before, involves the labeling of some Christians as...

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Pastor’s Friday Comment (03.12.21)

On Monday of this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Covid guidelines that should offer encouragement to anyone looking for a time when we can safely re-enter society (which I assume is just about everyone). The CDC said people who are...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.05.21)

I recently purchased a pair of noise cancelling headphones, a great way to remove distractions when you are working from home and there are other residents there as well. Cut on some low-volume meditative music and you’re in your own little world - which is fine if...

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From the Pastor….

The last time we held an indoor worship service at Parkway was on March 15, 2020. This was shortly after the first deaths from Covid 19 were reported in the United States, when we were just beginning to understand the impact that this pandemic was going to have on all...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.26.21)

One of the many people who make Parkway special is Kristy Engel, a nurse practitioner and missionary. Through the years she has been invaluable in the planning of mission trips and in seeking to ensure that wherever we go, we “help without hurting.” But in the past...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.19.21)

As you probably know, the Pastor Search Committee has asked three McAfee School of Theology students to examine aspects of our church life and make some tentative observations about what they think our future might hold. The committee thought it would be good to get...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.12.21)

Citizens of the United States are often stereotyped as people of “rugged individualism.” We pride ourselves on being able to stand on our own, dependent on no one. It isn’t true of all of us, but stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. You might try asking someone...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.05.21)

While all of us have been affected by the pandemic, we’re all aware that the impact has not been the same for everyone. While some have been able to work from home, others have had to continue to work in offices, factories, delivery vans, hospitals, etc. in order to...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.29.2021)

As I have noted a couple of times before since we suspended indoor worship in April, it is difficult to get a handle on how many members of our church family are engaging in worship each Sunday. My biggest concern related to this is the inability to know who has...

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From the Pastor….

If there has been any small blessing in our inability to worship inside the sanctuary, it has been to disconnect our Christian practice from a specific location. It has reminded us that, while we can be grateful for a place to meet together for worship, fellowship,...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.22.2021)

No one should be so naive as to believe that a change in national administration will heal the deep divisions in our country. The divide is too great, the opinions too ingrained, the feelings too raw for unity to be easily achieved. Nevertheless, as Christians we are...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.15.2021)

I am often inspired by the writings of Father Richard Rohr. A few weeks ago, he posed a question that has existential implications for “our current reality”: What if the challenges of the current moment are actually offering us an invitation to let go of our ideas of...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.08.21)

On The Day of the Epiphany, January 6, 2021, domestic terrorists breached the hallowed halls of American democracy in an attempt to prevent the certification of the lawful election of the President of the United States. They were incited to do so by the words of a...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.01.2021)

Happy New Year! As I remarked in Sunday’s sermon, just wishing that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 is setting a pretty low bar for our expectations of the next twelve months. Since we hope we are seeing the light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel with the...

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From the Pastor….

If I were departing a house, still furnished and with other people still living in it, I would hope to leave it in as good a condition as possible. I wouldn’t want to leave anything unrepaired or untidy. I’m trying to approach the end of my tenure as your pastor...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (12.25.20)

As you listen to “Christmas music” this time of year, you will find between the odd juxtaposition of “O Holy Night” and “Here Come Santy Claus'' a sprightly tune that fits either the secular or the sacred emphasis of the Season. “We Need a Little Christmas” speaks, I...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (12.18.20)

This Sunday, December 20, is the fourth and final Sunday in Advent. As always, it not only marks the last Lord’s Day on which we worship from the texts that focus on the Second Coming of Christ, but also the beginning of the countdown toward the celebration of the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (12.11.20)

Let’s begin with the premise that the leaders of all Christian churches want to do the right thing. They want to serve God and serve humanity as best they can, using whatever resources are at their disposal. We may vary greatly in the particular goals we have in mind;...

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